Joseph “Buddy” Damiano
Ft. Myers, Florida
Joseph “Buddy” Damiano, an Ocean City businessman and pioneer, died peacefully at his home in Florida on Sunday March 12, with his loving wife, Donna, and family members by his side. He was 84 years old.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Buddy was known for his quiet charm and Sinatraesque looks. Following a stint in the army where he was stationed in post-war Japan, he came to Ocean City to start his entrepreneurial career.
His first restaurant, a burger shop on 6th and the Boardwalk, opened in the early fifties. In 1955, Buddy bought the Rick’s Raft on 17th street with his sister, Maria. Josie and Marias would become the J&M Cafeteria in the 1960s and 1970s.
Following success in the night club business in Baltimore, Buddy brought The Electric Circus to the property on 17th street for the 1980s. In 1986, he opened The Olive Tree, returning to his roots of working in his mother’s Italian Restaurant and a kid.
From there he expanded to north Ocean City with a second Olive Tree, and Buddy’s Mixed Grill. He retired to Florida after selling the property on 17th street, 50 years after he bought it, to CVS.
Buddy Damiano was a warm, and generous man who was loved by many on the Eastern Shore. He is survived by his wife, Donna, son David, sister, Maria Poulos, stepdaughter, Diane, his grand kids and extended family. In lieu of flowers send donations to local hospice.